Saturday, 13 March 2021

waiting for the train that goes home, sweet mary

Entering the US singles charts on this day in 1971 and peaking at number ten, the Brewer & Shipley song featured Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead on steel guitar. The song was successful despite widespread ban by radio stations for its drug references. For their part, the band insisted that toke was short for token as in a ticket—thus the line “waiting downtown at the railway station,” though later Mike Brewer related while they were touring as the opening act for Melanie everyone got very stoned on marijuana one evening with Brewer having to retire early having smoked too much and he was “one toke over the line” and developed a song around it. Despite vice president Spiro Agnew pressuring the federal communications commission (FCC) to ban this “blatant drug culture propaganda that threatens to sap our national strength” within a few weeks Lawrence Welk was lauding the song as a “modern spiritual” and had regulars Dick Dale and Gail Farrell perform a cover version on his musical variety show.